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DNR Dyed Part Of Fox River Yellow To Track Invasive Species

Nontoxic Color Applied To Track Movement Of Round Goby Fish

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Fox River
J. Stephen Conn (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Memorial Day weekend boaters in northeastern Wisconsin may have noticed an unusual color in the waters of the Fox River near Menasha.

A nontoxic yellow dye was applied Thursday by the state Department of Natural Resources in an attempt to track the movement of the invasive round goby fish.

The fish have been documented as living in Little Lake Buttes Des Morts and the DNR is concerned it could migrate to nearby Lake Winnebago and from there proliferate into many other inland lakes.

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DNR Water Resources Field Supervisor Rob McLennan said the goal is to find out if century-old underwater pipes are at risk of letting the gobies move from Little Lake Buttes Des Morts into the Winnebago system.

“We’ve got round gobies there, and we’re concerned that if there are any historical pipes still in existence carrying water, they may be a conduit for gobies to move upstream,” he said.

Gobies feed on the eggs of native fish. The Fox River lock at Menasha is closed to contain the fish.

McLennan said the relatively small fish may be able to go through old, small pipes.

“They can be anywhere from an inch or two-long up to maybe six inches, but they aren’t really strong swimmers; so if there’s a good current coming through the pipes, they might not be able to navigate them, but we just need to look into this more,” he said.

DNR pilots surveyed the area near the Menasha lock this weekend. McLenan said it will take some time to analyze the data.

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